As we prepare for this school year and the upcoming flu season, we want to share with you some important information related to influenza. A nation-wide advisory has been issued regarding Novel H1N1 (referred to as swing flu) based on recommendations from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our emergency response at Chicago State University will be guided with regular input from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The CDC recommends that students and staff who appear to have an influenza-like illness on arrival or become ill during the day be promptly separated from other students and staff and sent home. The influenza virus is spread from humans to humans; similar to the way the regular seasonal influenza is spread. To prevent the spread of influenza, some simple preventative measures can be taken. These include the following:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough, or cough
in your sleeve if tissue is unavailable.
- Always wash your hands often with soap and water or use an
alcohol based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid contact with ill persons.
- Do not share eating utensils or drinking glasses with other individuals.
If you become ill, look for the following symptoms: fever accompanied by cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. Other symptoms may include body aches, chills, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. Persons with certain chronic medical conditions, adults 65 years or older, children younger than five years old, and pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe illness. A vaccine is currently being manufactured and will soon be available. Recent recommendations from the CDC have placed individuals under the age of 24 in the top priority group for receiving the H1N1 vaccine.
If you think you have H1N1 flu, please stay at home or remain isolated in your room. If traveling, stay in your hotel room. Do not travel or go to work or to school. Avoid contact with others for seven days after your symptoms begin. You must be symptom free and without fever for 24 hours or without fever and fever-reducing medication for 24 hours, whichever is longer.
For more information you can contact the Centers for Disease Control, 24 hours a day, every day by visiting http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1 or 1-800-232-4636, your local health department, or the Chicago State University Wellness/Health Center at 773-995-2011.
Dr. Lisa A. Young, DNP, APN, FNP-BC
Director, Wellness/Health Center